Why my hair is changing, and what I can do about it

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a bloke in his 20s-to-50s.

Also, if you’re in your 20s-to-50s, your hair is probably thinning or greying.

I’ll bet you regret shaving your head like Jason Statham all those years when you could have been enjoying some bountiful locks.

Don’t worry about it, though. Almost every male gets hair loss, thinning hair and/or greying hair from their late 20s onwards, no matter what ethnicity you are.

As a matter of fact, if you make it to 40 with a full head of hair, you’re probably a genetic freak.

Stop crying. This article is supposed to be motivational.

Without further ado, Dogbox presents…

Why my hair is changing, and what I can do about it

In May 2020, “The AM Show” host Ryan Bridge ended an interview with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern by asking if her hair was going grey.

Ardern shut him down, wouldn’t answer the question, and Bridge got the shit roasted out of him by internet trolls.

Just this past January, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle spoke about having alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that caused her hair to fall out at age 34. Shit, remember Matt Lucas from Little Britain? He has alopecia too, and started losing his hair aged six. 

Hair loss and turning grey – which are related – don’t need to upset us so much.

Hormones and genes turn heaps of people grey who we love and admire. Look at photos of Barack Obama, John Key, Idris Elba, Steve Carrell, Hugh Grant, Denzel Washington, Oscar Isaac or even Jacinda Ardern ten years ago compared to today.

According to Dr Robert H. Shmerling, Senior Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, most grey hair is not related to stress from being famous or wives or horrible bosses. In fact, did you know that hair doesn’t actually “turn” grey at all?

FACT: Once a hair follicle produces hair, the colour is set. If a single strand of hair starts out brown (or red or black or blonde), it is never going to change its colour. What actually happens is your hair follicles produce less colour as they age, so when hair goes through its natural cycle of dying and being regenerated, it’s more likely to grow in grey, especially after age 35.

Shmerling tells us being under stress can’t turn your hair grey, but stress can cause hair to shed three times faster than normal. The hair grows back, so the condition doesn’t cause balding, but there’s a chance – if you’re in your 30s and 40s – that the hair that grows in will be grey instead of its original colour.

Anyway, here are some common myths and great responses to hair challenges:

Myth: Bald Guys (like Bruce Willis) Have More Testosterone

Actually: Men who go bald and those who don’t have the same levels of testosterone. It’s more about how sensitive your hair follicles are to the influence of hormones in your body. Genes are responsible for this.

Myth: Wearing a Hat Too Much Suffocates Your Hair

Actually: Um, just no. An extremely tight hat can pull your hair out – but so can your six-year-old daughter. That’s all.

Myth: It’s Your maternal grandfather’s fault that you’ve inherited a balding head with grey coming through.

Actually: Hair density is a polygenic trait, meaning more than one ancestor’s genes determine what’s going to happen. Simply look at your parents and siblings. If one family member is bald or shows early hair thinning, you’ll face it too.

Myth: Sun-tan can Bake Your Hair Off

Actually: Follicle function will continue even when you’re getting baked (at the beach that is – not the weed-smoking type of baked). While tonnes of sun can make your hair damaged and brittle, which could lead to shedding, it’s not the same as male pattern baldness. Conditioner can help restore your hair, plus special medication from a dermatologist.

So can we do anything about the grey creeping in?

Sort of. Here are some solutions:

– Consume the right vitamins for healthy hair, these being B-12 and biotin, vitamin D, E and A

– Consume the right minerals – zinc, iron, magnesium, selenium and copper

– Don’t damage your hair by bleaching it, applying to much hair dryer heat, or washing too frequently.

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